Rad-Reader:  What made you want to tell this story?

N.N.:  I’ll be very blunt here. The topic of gun violence, especially when the acts have become so senseless, it has been bothering me for a while now. I think what really pushed me to talk about this through the eyes of a survivor is the glorification of villain culture. The fascination with people like Ted Bundy and other series killers, is at its peak, and all these criminals are now being brought onto a screen, they have their own Wikipedia pages, fan clubs, etc. While I understand this notion, I find this a bit disturbing because this seems like 'a new' normalcy. For once, I wanted to explore the world through the eyes of a person who’s been on the other side of the barricade because what the survivors are going through both emotionally and physically is horrible and it leaves a stamp on one’s life that will never go away. There’s a reason why I wanted to run two parallels in this book to show the reader the true effects of traumatic events and PTSD. 
Rqd-Reader:  Let me just say that this grief that you read which is real as it gets is just a small touch of what is real in a family member's life.  Normal grief there is no such animal this type of awful act brings on a new animal altogether.

Rad-Reader:  I know this is a hot topic in the news, but which one triggers it and why?

N.N.:  Yes, it is a hot topic. It’s also a topic, not every author will touch upon, especially if the story is heavy on romance. I knew I was taking a risk with this book, but I wanted to say the things that have been bothering me for a few years now. I’m glad I did.

Rad-Reader:  Can you give us the backstory on Alana and Mikah that the blurb doesn’t give us?

N.N.:  Hmmmmm…Well, the blurb is very vague as you can see. It doesn’t really tell the readers anything except the fact that Alana develops feelings for Mikah after the death of his brother/her boyfriend.

Alana and Mikah are complicated. They had that spark when they first met but nothing came of it because she was infatuated with his brother. After Dakota is shot, things get really messy. Both are grieving and they end up leaning on each other. The more time they spend together the more they realize that there’s something else to their relationship than just friendship. All this is happening while they are trying to deal with the aftermath of the attack, so this is bound to be very messy. 

Rad-Reader:  How did you go about creating these characters or did you they, create themselves?

N.N.:  I actually had this idea for a while. I would say 7 years or so, but I was redrafting parts of it while working on my other projects until the storyline became clear. My characters always create themselves. Usually when I’m trying to sleep or listen to music. They just pop into my head and begin to do things. They are the main reason for my insomnia.

Rad-Reader:  How long did it take you to write this story?

N.N.:  Not counting multiple drafts and attempts…two and a half months. It consumed me. One day I just slipped into Alana’s headspace and couldn’t let go until the story was finished. I put together all my drafts and there it was.   

Rad-Reader:  Jess has been Alana’s friend since forever.  Their eighteen, are they already in college or still in high school?

N.N.:  The girls are in college at the beginning of the book. It’s their first semester.   

Rad-Reader:  Now is she an only child and a preacher’s, child at that?

N.N.:  Yes. Alana is an only child. Her father is not a preacher, but he goes to church every week and is very religious. This makes it extremely hard for Alana to explore certain things. 

Rad-Reader:  So, am I to understand that she and Dakota were only dating three months?

N.N.:  Yes. I actually was asked this question by several people including my editors. I was criticized for it too by a few people, but…here’s the thing with young love. It hits you hard and fast. So fast you won’t even know if it’s real or not until it’s no more. When people tell me it’s impossible to truly know a person in such a short period of time, I don’t think it happened to them. Which really doesn’t mean it can’t happen to someone else. Who’s to say you’re going to stay with that person forever. 
     Alana and Dakota fell for each other fast because it was the right time and they were both open to those feelings at that moment. Maybe they wouldn’t make it as a couple in the long run but that’s not something we’ll know because Dakota was gone too soon. For those who don’t believe you can develop strong feelings for someone in three months – yes, you can; you can develop strong feelings like love for someone in two days if you click with that person. There are no rules on how fast people should fall in love. 
Rad-Reader:  You're right.  I believe our hearts have the ability to love in so many ways and as fast or as slow as it sees fit.  Can it sustain it?  Who knows, that will only come with time.   When I was eighteen, no one wanted me to marry at such a young age.  Now here at forty plus years marriage we still stand.  Has it always been perfect?  For godsakes, no, but we have laughed, loved, raised children, and have a granddaughter.  So, no one knows your road you will travel or the pains you will encounter, like Alana and Dakota.  Then again with Alana and Mikah

Rad-Reader:  How old was Dakota and Mikah?

N.N.:  Dakota is 23 and Mikah is 25. 

Rad-Reader:  How come Blaze calls her the Cupcake Queen?  Was it Dakota or Mikah that pinned her with all the names that came up?

N.N.:  I got asked that question a lot too. Someone somewhere dropped this nickname and it stuck and the boys started using it. We don’t always know in real life where certain things come from. I like to keep my books as realistic as possible. I truly believe that not all things need to be explained. Unless they are important things. The origin of a nickname isn’t that important in this case. Someone may have dropped it during rehearsals.   

Rad-Reader:  Alana has been trying to toe the line so her dad will pay for her college.  What does she want to major in?

N.N.:  This is not quite accurate. Alana got a scholarship to a great college and she could have gone there instead of the one her dad is paying for, but she made a choice based on the academics that appealed to her. Her dad insisted she lived at home to make sure she concentrated on her studies. It’s a never-ending conflict of generations.

Rad-Reader:  Her parents seem overly protective of her is there a reason?

N.N.:  No reason. She’s the only child. Some parents are just like that. I had pretty over-protective parents. My father didn’t let me watch American Pie and Pretty Woman at 19. Doesn’t mean I didn’t watch the movies I wanted anyway.

Rad-Reader:  There seems to be a connection between her and Mikah beyond losing Dakota.  Is it the trauma they have been living through and him protecting her that night?

N.N.:  Yes. There’s definitely a connection between Mikah and Alana that’s independent of Dakota. As I have mentioned earlier, there was a spark between the two that never lead to anything because Dakota was in the picture. If Dakota wasn’t in the picture, things could have been very different between Alana and Mikah. Their love story could have been…less complicated and less dramatic.

Rad-Reader:  So, had Mikah set his sights on Alana the night Dakota officially introduced her backstage?  But once he did he went indifferent to her why almost mean, why?

N.N.:  Mikah is very complex. We get to really see this in the scene where he’s on the ledge. His indifference toward Alana is his coping mechanism. He doesn’t want her to think he’s interested because in his mind it’s wrong because she’s dating his brother. 

Rad-Reader:  Mikah doesn’t want to talk about Dakota or what happened, Why?

N.N.:  Denial is one of the stages of grief. He’s in denial. 

Rad-Reader:  What is the reason for the disconnect between Jess and Alana?  Does Jess feel Alana is wallowing over what happened?

N.N.:  Jess and Alana are both going through different stages of grief that causes the disconnect.

Rad-Reader:  Was Alana’s and Dakota’s relationship a joke?  Was she a bet to get in the preacher’s daughter’s pants?

N.N.:  No. Dakota truly liked her. The world is mean, and people talk and just because they do doesn’t mean anything. In most cases, people talk because they don’t understand the words can hurt.

Rad-Reader:  Was Mikah in love with Alana and hating that his brother was messing with her like he was?

N.N.:  I don’t know if it was love at first. They were strong feelings that developed into a warped version of love eventually. Mikah didn’t hate his brother. He knew Dakota truly liked Alana. That’s why he never tried to pursue Alana.

Rad-Reader:  Why is Mikah so angry with Dakota?

N.N.:  Mikah and Dakota have different fathers and their mother always favored Dakota. This created tension between the boys. I wouldn’t say Mikah hated Dakota. Their relationship could be described as complex. It’s a combination of love and hate but in the end, blood always wins.

Rad-Reader:  Jess seems to be happy at the same time there seems to be something not yet defined.  Is it her being passive-aggressive with Alana or is it me?

N.N.:  Jess is a very aggressive person. Not literally.  Just aggressive in getting what she wants. The attack amplified that quality in her. That’s another reason why Jess and Alana stopped getting along and understanding each other.  

Rad-Reader:  Why did Mikah even tell her he was leaving?

N.N.:  Because Mikah cares about Alana and because he’s convinced, they can still be friends even after he’s gone.

Rad-Reader:  Does Mikah want something with her or not?  That night and the morning after were iffy?  Not to mention he tends to go underground a lot.

N.N.:  The morning after Mikah and Alana get together was uncomfortable for both because they both felt guilty about what they did. At the same time, they liked it, which only amplified their guilt. This explains the awkwardness between the two.

Rad-Reader:  Why did Dakota call Alana Moonchild?

N.N.:  Because he once asked her where she’d come from. She said she was from the Moon. So, he called her Moonchild.

Rad-Reader:  Don’t you think Alana’s parent's helicoptering has somewhat crippled her growth and made her disabled?  To make decisions by herself.  Brainwashed her almost.

N.N.:  Yes, that’s the case here. 

Rad-Reader:  OMG!  When the two brothers at different times take Alana in bed, they both use the exact same words.  Why would Mikah asks that?

N.N.:  Because they are brothers.  
Rad-Reader:  To me it is creepy.  Almost the exact same words. LOL!

Rad-Reader:  It wasn’t him bringing his brother into it and confusing it.  It was him but he was afraid to voice it until the fight to let her know, right?  He did say the walls were paper thin.

N.N.:  The scene you’re referring to is very emotional. It was one of the hardest ones for me to write because there were so many feelings involved, and I had to live through them all.  I know the book is only written in Alana’s POV, but I also had to put myself into Mikah’s shoes for some parts of the book and this was one of those parts. This is where he broke down and told her how he really felt all this time because Alana provoked him. 

Rad-Reader:  Why did the blonde with the butterfly tattoo keep popping up.  Did both brothers do her too?  And why did she have the same butterfly tat as Dakota?

N.N.:  Actually, the blonde girl – AKA Snow White – didn’t have the same tat. Dakota had a different one. A hummingbird. She was his ex-girlfriend and because they dated for quite some time before calling it quits, she was part of the same circle with Mikah and Dakota.

Rad-Reader:  Why out of all of them do you think she was having the hardest time adjusting?  Being in a crowded room, loud noise like pops, needing to know the exits, etc.….     

N.N.:  All the characters had a really hard time adjusting. Sometimes the effects of PTSD can be delayed. Alana’s been sheltered all her life and trying to fit it was already hard on her. The tragedy only rattled her more. 

Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…

Alana:   Kiernan Shipka

Mikah:  Wouter Peelen

Dakota:  Heath Hutchins

Luke:  Stian Bjornes

N.N.:  I actually like Kiernan Shipka.
She’d be great. Honestly, I never thought about the boys, but I’d have to say I’m very old school and I’m a little lost at the moment. I’m not sure what actors would fit age-wise. But I love your cast. Although, both Dakota and Mikah have long hair. Mikah’s are past his shoulders, so I think it would be super hard to find an actor.  

Alana:   Kiernan Shipka. 

Mikah:  Young Jared Leto?

Dakota:  Young Brad Pitt?



Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best describes your characters or your book best?

“If You Met Me First – Eric Ethridge”

The night he saw Alana backstage standing alone he fell.  Not knowing that she was there to meet up with his younger brother, Dakota.

“Unlove You – Jennifer Nettles”

After the loss of the man she thought she would be in her life forever is killed she is lonely and alone in her pain.  She turns to the one person that she feels the strongest connection.  When they fall into each other that’s when the real (pain begins magnifying the fears of the world at large.)  But she feels drunk on Mikah.

“Don’t Close Your Eyes – Dylan Scott”

Mikah had to go underground off and on because he has such a love for Alana that he wishes it had been him who had died so she could still be happy.  But then he could not answer when he could hear the stress either in text or her calls.  He was hurting too because he wanted to be who she wanted not his brother.

“Love Me Anyway – Pink ft. Chris Stapleton”

When Mikah makes his declaration, she feels the need to meet him halfway.  But she still has questions and she needs to know that if she needs to talk about what happened, his brother, or whatever he will love her anyway.  Not run and bail every time things get tough or not go his way.  He can’t keep going off the grid she can’t feel secure that way.

“I Am Your – Andy Grammer”

When she chose him and not his brothers’ ghost, he was just so bewildered by it.  No one had ever chosen him. Not even his own mother.  The emotions were beyond overwhelming for him.

N.N.:  Oh, I love all these. Don’t close your eyes is great. I saw Dylan Scott live a few years ago. I listened to a lot of HIM while I was writing this book since it has a lot of Gothic elements.

Rad-Reader:  Who was the one person that had encouraged you from the very start of your journey to your writing career?

N.N.:  My parents and my literature teacher

Rad-Reader:  If you had not been a writer what would you have chosen as your dream job?

N.N.:  Photographer, but I already do that. I like all things creative. If I had to time to go to college again, I would love to study design. 

Rad-Reader:  What time of day do you find yourself the most productive when it comes to your writing?

N.N.:  In the morning after I had coffee. I go until lunch, take a break and resume in the evening. At night, I also plot instead of sleeping. 

Rad-Reader:  Are you a writer that needs total quiet or one that likes to have noise and music playing?  Like at a coffee shop or restaurant?

N.N.:  I need silence to weave words together.

Rad-Reader:  Do you have a writer’s group that you write with to bounce things off of in your town or online?  How does your work if you do?

N.N.:  I dont have a group. I sometimes bounce off some ideas with my editors or my author friends.

Rad-Reader:  Did you publish with a publishing house or self-publish?

N.N.:  Self. I never considered trad. Im a control freak, haha.   

Rad-Reader:  What three things can’t you leave home without?

N.N.:  Cell phone, headphones, credit card. Do clothes count?

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it coming out?

N.N.:  Im working on multiple projects right now. I have a series drafted that Im slowly editing. Its a pretty dark and honest sex, drugs, and rocknroll read about a group of friends from Los Angeles who are in the band together. Its been in the works for a few years. There are 5 books, total. I think I will start publishing next year. I also just sent part one of what looked like its going to be a duet slated, for early 2020 release. Im working on part 2. 

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?  Links

N.N.:  Severance https://amzn.to/2IDwvSc

           Rapture https://amzn.to/2HrysAa

Rapture Audible https://adbl.co/2KUJnn1 

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?  Links

N.N.:  Newsletter sign up http://bit.ly/readersvip
Facebook http://bit.ly/2WIESDL
Instagram http://bit.ly/2Z4ui7G
Goodreads http://bit.ly/3166suh
Pinterest http://bit.ly/3166zpH

Facebook fan group http://bit.ly/2RsTq5E

Sometimes there are subjects we don't like to look at too closely because it makes us uncomfortable.  Yet, you turned this uncomfortable subject into a love story yet, you hit on a lot of feelings that friends and family go through when affected by these senseless acts of violence.  It was intense and I couldn't put it down.  Thank you for making me uncomfortable yet happy these found what they needed.

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